Colorado’s wildfire-stricken forests showing limited recovery

Colorado forests stricken by wildfire are not regenerating as well as expected and may partially transform into grasslands and shrublands in coming decades, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study.  The paper, published in the journal Ecosphere by former doctoral student Monica Rother and geography professor Thomas Veblen, examined the sites of six low-elevation ponderosa pine forest fires which collectively burned 162,000 acres along the Colorado Front Range between 1996 and 2003. Eight to 15 years after the fires, the researchers expected – based on historical patterns … [Read more...]

Beyond Boulder: Students video polar bears to teach about climate change

Graduate student Barbara MacFerrin had never seen a bear in the wild in Colorado. In November, she went to the Arctic and saw a dozen polar bears.  As part of a team led by Jennifer Kay, assistant professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) at CU Boulder, they spent a week on the Arctic tundra making educational videos to help teach students about climate science. MacFerrin, who is working toward a master’s degree in the ATLAS Institute’s Technology, Media and Society program, was the team’s videographer. Seeing polar bears in their habitat was a highlight … [Read more...]

Go Green with the Team

For the first time since joining the PAC-12 in 2011 the Colorado Buffaloes are competitive in the league. With their current conference record of 6-1 the Buffs are performing better than they have in over a decade. Even when the Buffs were trailing in the rankings, they were leading the pack in green sports. CU Boulder had one of the first major collegiate sports sustainability initiatives in the country, and the athletics department has embraced this aspect of their identity. The greening process began in 2008 when Dale Newport, head of CU’s Environmental Center, reached out to then … [Read more...]

Comedy for Climate Change

Humor is an underutilized tool in the area of climate change, yet comedy has the power to connect people, ideas, information and innovative ways of thinking.  CU Boulder's Inside the Greenhouse (ITG) is experimenting with creative climate comedy and is hosting a Comedy & Climate Change short video competition. In this call, ITG is seeking to harness the powers of climate comedy through compelling, resonant and meaningful short videos (up to 4 minutes in length). The winning entry will receive a cash prize, and be shown during the upcoming ‘Stand Up for Climate: An Experiment with … [Read more...]

Energy Savings Opportunity for Rural and Low Income Schools

Are you looking for ways to cut energy costs at your school, but are lacking the resources to do so?  The Energy Savings for Schools (ESS) Program provides energy management assistance and project implementation support to Colorado K-12 public schools, with an emphasis on rural and low-income communities. The ESS program is Colorado Energy Office's (CEO) comprehensive  K-12 energy efficiency program that consolidates all of CEO’s K-12 program offerings and statutory obligations. The program provides free energy and water audits, technical assistance, coaching, and implementation support for … [Read more...]

Power to the People: Professor David Ciplet Discusses Power Dynamics and Climate Negotiations

With an interesting research and career portfolio that blends social movements and climate change, David Ciplet joined the Environmental Studies Department at the University of Colorado Boulder earlier this academic year bringing with him a focus on power and inequality in climate change and global politics. Ciplet joined researchers and international policymakers in Paris for the United Nations’ climate change conference (Conference of the Parties, COP21) in December. In his book, Power in a Warming World, which was published in September, he and his co-authors argue that international … [Read more...]

Seven trends spotted at United Nations climate talks

Need help making sense of the 20th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference? Lauren Gifford, a CU-Boulder doctoral student, was at the Conference of the Parties that took place in Lima, Peru on Dec. 1-14. Gifford and fellow PhD student Jonas Bruun, from the University of Manchester, were part of the Institute for Policy Studies delegation at the talks. They called the conference a “dress rehearsal” for talks that should conclude with a new international climate agreement in 2015. With several strands of negotiations between governments and hundreds of events held in parallel, Gifford … [Read more...]

CU-Boulder researchers find common factors behind Greenland melt episodes in 2012, 1889

New from Colorado.EDU: In 2012, temperatures at the summit of Greenland rose above freezing for the first time since 1889, raising questions about what led to the unusual melt episode. Now, a new analysis led by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder shows that some of the same weather and climate factors were at play in both 1889 and 2012: heat waves thousands of miles upwind in North America, higher-than-average ocean surface temperatures south of Greenland and atmospheric rivers of warm, moist air that streamed toward … [Read more...]

Methane leaks from palm oil wastewater are climate concern, CU-Boulder study says

In recent years, palm oil production has come under fire from environmentalists concerned about the deforestation of land in the tropics to make way for new palm plantations. Now there is a new reason to be concerned about palm oil’s environmental impact, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder. An analysis published Feb. 26 in the journal Nature Climate Change shows that the wastewater produced during the processing of palm oil is a significant source of heat-trapping methane in the atmosphere. But the researchers also present a possible solution: capturing the … [Read more...]

Amazonian drought conditions add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere

This article originally appeared on the University of Colorado Boulder website. As climates change, the lush tropical ecosystems of the Amazon Basin may release more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than they absorb, according to a new study published Feb. 6 in Nature. An international team of scientists found that the amount of yearly rainfall was the driving factor behind the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) taken up and released from Amazonia in 2010 and 2011. During a wet year, the Amazon forests were roughly carbon-neutral: Forests “inhaled” more carbon … [Read more...]